Modern Etiquette Guide

Most etiquette books are written with a traditional family in mind. You know the kind: 2 parents, 2 future in-laws, 2.5 kids and1 dog. But your situation might not be so neat and tidy.

For example, how do you word the invitation when your family includes 4 stepparents? How do you include your child in your nuptials? And if your family behaves less like the Bradys and more like the Hatfields and the McCoys, how can you peacefully decide who pays for what? We’ve got the answers to today’s tough wedding questions.


Who Pays?

The traditional arrangement of the bride’s family paying for everything, may not be the best way to approach your wedding. Does the groom’s family want to help, but would prefer not to be handed a bill for half a wedding they didn’t help plan? Tell them, in today’s world, it’s become traditional for…


The Bride’s Family to Pay For:

  •  Invitations
  •  The Bride’s Wedding Dress
  •  Wedding-Day Transportation for the Bridal Party
  •  Ceremony & Reception Location
  •  The Reception Meal, including the Wedding Cake
  •  Flowers
  •  Decorations
  •  Photography

– Music/Entertainment


The Groom’s Family to Pay For:

  •  The Groom’s Attire
  •  The Rehearsal Dinner
  •  Clergy Fees
  •  Alcohol at the Reception
  •  (optional) A Monetary Gift for the Honeymoon


The Bride and Groom to Pay For:

  •  The Engagement and Wedding Rings
  •  Accessories, such as the unity candle, guest book, etc.
  •  Attendant Gifts
  •  Marriage License Fees
  •  Their Honeymoon


The Long Walk Down the Aisle:

Traditionally, the bride’s father walks her down the aisle. If this scenario has always accompanied your wedding day dreams, then by all means, go with tradition. However, more than a few modern mothers of the bride dislike this arrangement, especially in instances of divorce.
No matter what, remember, it’s your day, not anyone else’s. When opinions run strong (and in cases of weddings, they often do), remind yourself that everyone else had their chance to get married. This day is yours and your fiance’s alone.

If you want your father to walk you down the aisle, then have him do so. Tell anyone who might disagree, politely but firmly, that simply put, it’s traditional, and you want and deserve a traditional wedding. Many brides soften the blow to disappointed mothers by including a special moment in their wedding ceremony when they and their groom present their mothers with a rose, accompanied by a kiss and thanks for years of love and support. (This tribute can be added to weddings where everyone gets along famously as well!)

Likewise, if you wish to have someone else accompany you down the aisle — a grandfather, brother or beloved family friend — then have them. Some brides opt to have both their mother and their father walk them down the aisle together. Still others are accompanied by their mother only. Keep in mind, the tradition of a fatherly escort hails from the time when a daughter was considered property to be traded among men. It’s not written in stone that you need to be accompanied at all. Many brides today make a solo entrance, preferring to remain the focus of the wedding ceremony.

No matter how you decide to enter the ceremony, it’s the way you leave, arm in arm with your husband, that really matters!


The Consultant — A Modern Bride’s Best Friend

Both the busy bride-to-be, overwhelmed with the details of the day, and the daughter caught in the middle of a familial wedding planning battle, can benefit from third-party intervention. Enter the wedding consultant.
Traditionally, wedding consultants assist in the planning stages and orchestrate the wedding event. However, they can do as much or as little as you need. While months of total involvement will cost accordingly, many brides aren’t aware they can have Wedding Day Only help for next-to-nothing. For a few hundred dollars, a consultant can show up on the big day and take care of all the little details — and the unexpected problems — that can threaten the sanity of even the most experienced wedding parties.

Flowers didn’t show up yet? Limo driver got lost? Parents at each others throat? Not even sure when you should start walking down the aisle? A consultant can smooth all the set-up hiccups, coordinate your processional, and, most importantly, give you and your mother the chance to relax.

Need an outsider to act as the Voice of Reason? Even if you’ve planned the wedding yourself down to the tiniest detail, and all you need is someone to make sure feuding relatives stay on opposite sides of the church, a consultant can be the answer to your prayers.

Interview local consultants. Ask your friends for referrals. All consultants will need to do some pre-planning with you, but many are willing to simply check in by phone. The right consultant can help make your wedding a seamless dream come true.

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